I lost a dog that spring.
I don’t remember the year. The decade was the seventies, I think; could have been as late as 1981. The dog I’d picked up years before at the riverbed. A gap-toothed Eurasian kid, I don’t remember his name, and I found him as a stray. We decided to walk in opposite directions. The dog followed me, and so I adopted him.
We lost him in the same place, Melody and I, when he went into the water during a heavy rain. He came close to the edge, on the wet concrete bank, sliding in with a little wisk and like that he was submerged and gone. So quick and mild was it we sat there a long moment, processing, before Melody let out a little whimper. Easy come easy go.
I don’t recall what happened next.
I don’t recall her face. Can’t conjure it. I remember her sweatshirt; off-white with a stylized minimalist sketch of a fly’s head in thick black and red contours, like a logo. I can picture it clearly still; it was the night we met. For some reason she fell for me, I never understood why. She was safe; I was young and harmless, so shy there might as well have been a force field around her.
By the end of the summer she was in the hands of an older boy and the rest is her own little history. I wonder if she recalls me ever, sometimes. Or, more likely perhaps, she recalls some detail of her own, serving as her shirt serves for me, an indication of the vastness of the thing that seared it there in memory, first love, of its superiority to its puny players, to us, its mere material.